Five simple questions to find hidden coeliac disease in children

Research carried out by Dr Peter Toftedal of Odense University Hospital in Denmark and reported by WedMD suggests that five simple questions can help you find out whether your child could be coeliac.

Dr Toftedal mailed the questionnaire to the parents of 9,880 8- and 9-year-olds in the County of Funen. Before giving the questionnaire, 13 Funen children were known to have celiac disease.

Of the 7,029 parents who filled out the questionnaire, 2,835 reported at least one symptom. All of these children were invited for a blood test. Of the 1,720 children tested, 24 were positive for the antibodies characteristic of celiac disease. Further tests identified 14 children with celiac disease.

This means that only half of the children with celiac disease in Funen had actually been diagnosed.

If the answer to any of the questions below is yes (or no, if appropriate) then you should take them for further investigation.

  1. Has your child ever suffered from abdominal pain more than twice during the last three months?
  2. Has your child ever had diarrhea lasting more than two weeks?
  3. Does your child have a tendency to firm and hard stools?
  4. Does your child gain enough weight?
  5. Does your child gain enough height?

Toftedal, P. Pediatrics, March 2010; vol: 125


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